Monday, March 1, 2021

Home Eat & Drink Your Guide to Utah Pizza

Your Guide to Utah Pizza


Photo by Adam Finkle

Confession: Back in 1993, Salt Lake magazine ran an article about pizza.

Editors ordered pizza delivered from five places, including—hard to admit it—Pizza Hut. We counted the minutes between order and delivery. Then we counted the number of pepperoni slices on our pizza.

That’s how we judged pizza then. Domino’s won.

No more.

Now, ads and windshield flyers should tell you all you need to know about pizza chains. So we’re not even going there. This article rates pizza as it is now. We are dividing the pizzas by style—lifestyle and cooking style. (Sometimes when you want pizza is as relevant as what pizza you want.)

Basically, there was, is, now and ever shall be only three parts to a pizza: The toppings. The crust. And the fire. And all three have improved drastically sinceSalt Lake magazine rated pizza for that issue 21 years ago. You wouldn’t even know this is the same pizzaville.

Here’s a list of the best pies on the Wasatch Front.

And before you start the email onslaught: This is not an inclusive list of pizza. It’s my list. But of course, we want to know what you think. Go to and flame away.


Quality and variety of toppings are what most people notice about a pizza (unless it’s a college style pie, then quantity is what counts.) Hand-pulled mozzarella, house made ricotta, artisanal meats, including pepperoni and other cured meats from Creminelli or another artisanal salumi maker, and true San Marzano tomatoes set the standards for the new pizza.

The Dough 

No one argues that to make good pizza dough, you have to start with high-gluten flour (12 percent is supposed to be ideal.) But after that, it’s a free for all. Pizza Napoletana is made with a soft dough and takes about one minute to cook in a wood-burning oven. New Yorkers claim that the city’s water is why their pizza is inimitable. Baker Ryan Patrick Moore from at From Scratch says that the dough needs to be extensible, not elastic, and that means a long fermentation–or rising–time.

The Fiery Inferno

A gas oven and some slate can only go so far—it’s a fact that the best pizza is made in a brick oven burning fruitwood at temperatures unachievable in a home oven. The increased use of wood ovens is one of the factors that has made Utah pizza so much better in the last few years. One sign of a proper woodfired pizza: big, charred bubbles.

So, without further ado, here are the pizzas:

Strict Neapolitan Style

The rules for true Pizza Napoletana are set down, virtually in stone, by the Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana. Google it. Basically, this style is foldable–soft by American standards, so it’s usually eaten with knife and fork. It must be cooked in an incredibly hot wood-burning oven.

In Salt Lake, only Settebello adheres to these rules, cooking their pies made with imported 00 flour at 900 to 1,000 degrees in an imported Italian oven. 260 S. 200 West, SLC, 801-322-3556


We can credit–‑of course–‑Californians with breaking all known pizza conventions. Ed LaDou started serving pizzas topped with goat cheese and truffles at Prego. Wolfgang Puck put smoked salmon and caviar on pizza at Spago in the ‘80s era of conspicuous consumption. Alice Waters opened a pizza place next to Chez Panisse; soon, every city had a joint specializing in upscale pizza topped with spinach and duck sausage. (Ladou went on to help open CPK, whence came BBQ chicken pizza. Never a good idea, even in California.)

Pizzeria Limone, a local mini-chain, bases everything on its secret crust recipe, baked in a gas-fired brick oven and finished with some tricky toppings involving lemons and blackberries. But mozzarella is aged, not fresh. Besides the original Cottonwood location, Pizzeria Limone has successfully replicated in Salt Lake City, Sandy and, soon, South Jordan. 1380 Fort Union Blvd., Cottonwood Heights.

From Scratch takes artisanal a step further by milling its own flour onsite. Because of their buy-local philosophy, the wheat from Central Milling is a mix, not 100 percent, so the pizza is baked at a lower temperature–450 to 500 degrees–in their wood oven. 62 E. Gallivan Ave., SLC, 801-538-5090

Vinto’s two locations also serve an American artisanal pie baked in a wood burning oven. Like 712, the dough is bit sturdier than Neapolitan pizza and baked at a slightly lower temperature, around 600 degrees. 418 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-539-9999; 900 Main St., Park City, 435-615-9990  

Pizzeria 712, the first restaurant in the Heirloom Restaurant Group, still serves the best pizza in Utah, because of the true chef’s attention brought to bear on the humble pie: locally-grown and made ingredients baked in an Italian-made wood burning oven at 712 degrees. Get it? The simple margherita is the apex of Utah pizza. 320 S. State St. #185, Orem, 801-623-6712

Restaurant Style 

Lots of restaurants serve pizza; here, I’m only talking about places where the pizza is a definitive part of the menu. Best by a long shot is Sea Salt.

Slackwater Pizza & Pub is more pub than a pizzeria, but the pizza is extraordinarily wild for a pub. Try the California Sunrise—it actually involves Green Goddess dressing. 1895 Washington Blvd, Ogden, 801-399-0637

Lugano has a limited pizza menu, but deserves inclusion here because of its version of pizza bianca, with roasted cauliflower and shiitake mushrooms.3364 S. 2300 East, SLC, 801-412-9994

Sea Salt’s pizza are full-on Neapolitan style in spirit–made in a wood burning oven, using San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella (including di bufala), grana padano…meticulously made and topped judiciously with local produce.1709 E. 1300 South, SLC, 801-349-1480

East Coast Style

They say the first pizza establishment in the United States was opened in 1905 in New York’s Little Italy. It was cooked in coal-burning brick ovens, and the cheese was put on the dough before the sauce.

Several places in Utah claim to sell New York-style pizza, but Maxwell’s comes the closest with their 20-inch, thin pies. 357 S. Main St., SLC, 801-328-0304; 1456 Newpark Blvd., Park City, 435-647-0304

Este is a New York hipster pizza; you can tell because their best-selling pie is a veggie with spinach and they also make some pies with vegan cheese. 156 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-363-2366; 2148 S. 900 East, SLC, 801-485-3699

College Style 

In one study, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 13 percent of the U.S. population consumes pizza on any given day–with young people representing biggest piece of the pie. Don’t even think about wood, or fresh mozzarella or local ingredients: The key to college-style pizza is sheer bulk—mountains of toppings, including lots of meat and cheese—we presume to counteract the beer.

The Pie is Utah’s quintessential college pizza joint. Obviously. And the Pie’s Combo, topped with ham, pepperoni, salami, ground beef and two kinds of sausage, is a best-seller. The original location is a U of U institution, but now there are locations all around Northern Utah. 1320 E. 200 South, SLC, 801-582-0195 

Roasted Sun, a perennial favorite located conveniently not far from the club strip on State, uses an old-school gas deck oven with big pieces of slate. 2010 S. State St., SLC, 801-483-2120

SLABpizza in Provo–BYU’s college pizza of choice–offers the required collegiate mass in a new way. A slab is one quarter of a 20-inch pizza–you order toppings for each slab. 671 E. 800 North, Provo, 801-377-3883

Midnight Pizza

Sometimes you don’t just want pizza, you have to have pizza. Elsewhere, late-night pizza is a whole genre. The pickings are slimmer in Utah, but there is the Pie Hole, where you can get a midnight slice, and when all else fails, Big Daddy’s even has an ordering app for your smartphone. You don’t even have to think to order this pizza.

Pie Hole

344 S. State St, SLC, 801-359-4653

Big Daddy’s

470 S. 700 East, SLC, 801-746-7499

Back>>>Read other stories in our July/August 2014 issue.

Even in the exploration boom of the 1800s, nobody dared to explore the terrain flowing through the Green and the Colorado Rivers.⁠

That is, nobody until Major John W. Powell said the 19th Century equivalent of “Hey man, hold my beer while I try this.”⁠

Read more about his dangerous expedition at the link in our bio!⁠

Photo of Powell’s expedition courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division⁠

A brand new issue of Salt Lake magazine is coming your way! ⁠

We can't wait to share these stories with you. This issue includes our annual Blue Plate Awards celebrating those surviving and thriving in the restaurant biz. Plus, we take a road trip to Wyoming and ask why the only Utah passenger on the Titanic didn’t survive her journey.⁠

A note from our editor Jeremy Pugh, including beautiful tributes to Mary Brown Malouf from our friends in the community, is online now. Read more at the link in our bio ❤️⁠

Subscribers: Look for this issue in your mailbox soon. The magazine will be on newsstands March 1! 📬

Today, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Blue Plate Awards! ⁠🎉⁠

These prizes honor the growers, food evangelists, grocers, servers, bakers, chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs who do more than put good food on the table—they make our community a better place to live. This year, just surviving as a local business deserves an award, but each of our Blue Plate winners did more than that. They made us grateful for every person involved in the essential act of feeding us.⁠ 🍽⁠

At the link in our bio, we have the full list of winners, a celebration of feats of COVID creativity and a tribute to restaurants we lost this year. If you’re hungry for more, pick up a copy on newsstands March 1! Plus, check out our Instagram for spotlights on some of the Blue Plate winners. ⁠

This year’s Blue Plate Awards are the first without our beloved Executive Editor Mary Brown Malouf. We dedicate them to her, our town’s biggest food fan, critic and champion. xoxomm⁠ 💙

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @ricobrandut for Staying in Beansness⁠

Last summer, it seemed that Rico would be another victim of rapid gentrification in Salt Lake. Luckily, Rico was able to find a new home in Poplar Grove and now plans to add even more employees. It’s a last-minute happy ending for a community leader who literally wears his mission on his sleeve, courtesy a tattoo in bright red block letters: “pay it forward.” 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award Winner: @spicekitchenincubator for Keeping the Spice Flowing⁠

This year Spice Kitchen Incubator, already an essential resource for refugees, became, well, even more essential. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @thestore_utah for Special Deliveries ⁠

As grocery delivery becomes the new norm, The Store offers a personal touch that only an independent grocer can provide. Last March, high-risk and elderly customers began calling in their grocery lists over the phone, and The Store’s general managers personally delivered food to their homes. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @cucinaslc for Preserving Neighborhood Connection⁠

Cucina’s outdoor spaces became a place where the neighborhood could gather safely. Owner Dean Pierose offered free coffee in the mornings and encouraged his regulars to linger and commiserate together, preserving a semblance of society during a socially distanced time. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @oquirrhslc for Betting the Bottom Dollar⁠

When COVID-19 hit Salt Lake City, Oquirrh co-owners Andrew and Angelena Fullers' dream was seriously damaged. But the Fullers keep trying to follow the rules. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @hearth_and_hill for Opening Doors⁠

As the pandemic ravages independent restaurants, Hearth and Hill has reaffirmed its commitment to small businesses in Park City and used its large dining room as an informal gathering space for the city. 💙⁠

2021 Blue Plate Award winner: @fisherbrewing for Creative Canning⁠

This year, Fisher found ways to utilize their beer, taproom space and canning capabilities for good. They created special lines of limited edition beers in custom cans to help raise funds for local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. 💙⁠

A wind storm #tbt for your feed today. 🌬️🛹⁠

2020 was a long, long, loooong year, so we asked local photographers to share what the new normal looked like through their eyes. The link is in our bio!

Just hours after being sworn in, President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling for a review of the boundaries for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments. The monuments—designated by Barack Obama in 2016 and Bill Clinton in 1996—were reduced by roughly 2 million acres by former president Donald Trump, and the executive order is seen as move towards restoring the original boundaries.⁠

Read the full story through the link in bio.⁠

📸Bears Ears National Monument: Courtesy of Utah Office of Tourism

What’s your favorite park in Utah? ...